Brenda Avila-Hanna is an award winning filmmaker and educator. Born and raised in Mexico City, her films mostly focus on transnational immigrant stories between Mexico and the United States. Brenda is a two-time finalist for the International Documentary Challenge. Her work has been showcased at HotDocs Toronto, Lakino Berlin and Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. Brenda received a Master’s degree in Social Documentation from UC Santa Cruz in 2013 and is still an active member of the film and education community in the area. 

Brenda Avila-Hanna is an independent filmmaker and video journalist born and raised in Mexico City and currently based in the Bay Area. Brenda received a Master’s degree in Social Documentation from UC Santa Cruz where she completed her first documentary short, VIDA DIFERIDA (LIFE, DEFERRED), the coming-of age story of an undocumented teenage girl in New Mexico. The film screened at several film festivals including the San Francisco Latino Film Festival and Lakino Berlin. During her time as a graduate student at UCSC, she also produced “The Audio-Gadgeteer,” a finalist for the International Documentary Challenge 2012 that premiered at Hot Docs Toronto. Her latest short, Libertad, tells the story of an indigenous, transgender woman from Oaxaca, Mexico who lives in the Bay Area as she plans to return to her mother in Mexico after 20 years apart. The film won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at the 2016 Cine Las Americas International Film Festival. Brenda is also the field producer for No Place to Grow, a Cal Humanities grant recipient about food justice for inner-city Latino immigrants currently in post-production. She teaches courses on Visual Culture and Human Rights

Films by Brenda Avila-Hanna

Vida Diferida (Life; deferred)

After the announcement of the policy known as "Deferred Action", Vanessa, an undocumented teenager, contemplates the possibility of a future she was ready to give up on. How will this life-changing opportunity impact her life and the lives of those around her?